A betrayal from a friend can be a real kick in the soccer balls.
After some suggestive baking and otter puns, we learn more about Mabu and Reo’s backstory. Both were high ranking members of the Otter Empire, as well as lovers, when Mabu was mortally wounded during the attack on the Kappa Kingdom. When their leader, Otter (guess that’s where the name comes from) resurrected him, he was a near emotionless shell of his former self that Reo now looks upon with disdain despite Mabu’s constant attempts at recovery and normalcy. These guys could use some couple’s counseling. Reo hopes to use the Dishes of Hope to restore him, but that’s impossible without a Kappa…until he traces the locations of recent battles to Keppi’s base.
Meanwhile, things are going pretty great for Kazuki now that he’s regained human form and no longer has to worry about the Sara disguise. Now he can get back to being a good brother to Haruka and plans to return to the soccer field in the fall, much to Enta’s delight. He even invites Toi to be on the team with them, though Toi is hesitant with his brother’s precarious work. Things get even worse when they find their soccer spot vandalized with trash and paint in a…totally not homoerotic montage. And then it’s trashed again, but their spirits are not beaten! That is, until Toi gets news that a big job of his brother’s fell through and he’ll be a wanted man soon, meaning Toi will be leaving with him. But Kazuki suggests that they just get one more Silver Dish so that they can make a wish to keep Toi with them!
Soon enough, Mabu and Reo make their next zombie (with a new theme song!), this time being soccer themed, but once the boys get ready to face it, they find the base invaded and the collected dishes gone. Keppi suspects it was the Otters, but they have to deal with the matter at hand. However, this time Enta leads the Sarazanmai, meaning that he has a secret revealed: It seems his jealousy for Kazuki caring about Toi has led him to being both the culprit who trashed the soccer area and stealing the dishes.
What a twist! For the majority of the episode, I was certain it would be focused on Toi and his issues, but little did I know this was just a red herring for revealing Enta as the one dealing with the most. To their credit, they did a lot of work to conceal it by starting with touching on Kazuki basking in his recent character development and having Toi’s matters with his brother approaching on the horizon. Compared to that, Enta was kind of the odd man out with nothing else left to grow from…at least that’s how it seemed. It turns out that his feelings for Kazuki have clouded his judgment, going past love and entering into pure desire. The show has made many references to the difference between the two in the past, but it’s now that I really start to see it making the distinction crystal clear through Enta’s actions here.
This is definitely a turning point for Enta’s character, much like last episode was for Kazuki, only this is for the worse. Putting on a nice face and wishing to help Toi be part of the group when he was actively sabotaging things solely to feel better definitely qualifies as a “dick move”, but it doesn’t look like he’s done anything irreversible yet. As seen, the practice area can be re-cleaned so that’s not any huge loss, and it doesn’t looks like he’s done anything with the dishes except take them…somewhere. If he broke them, then THAT would be pretty much unforgivable. Hopefully now that they’ve beaten the latest zombie and likely obtained another dish, they can settle things and use them for something.
But who knows if using their power will solve things, as the complications with Toi’s brother look like they’ll be coming more into the forefront. One thing of many that I’ve appreciated about this series is how it balanced the grounded reality with the fantastical, and it looks like we’re really about to hit the ground fast once gangsters become a factor. Based on what we saw in Toi’s memories, things can get very deadly very quickly with these people, especially when Toi himself is guilty of killing one of them. That said, we still haven’t seen that intersect with the Kappa and Otter stuff, so that could be an interesting way to enter the final third of the series as things start to wrap up next week.